For many reasons, this is my favorite time of year. One reason is not the colder weather. In fact, the temperature outside may be the only thing I don’t like, but the joy of the season more than compensates for it. Here are some of my favorite things about the holidays:
How people are nicer to each other. I see this every year and wonder why it can’t continue past the winter holidays. The malls and parking lots are crowded, but many people take shuttles and patiently wait in line. Most people seem more caring, not just toward those they love but also people they don’t even know. They go out of their way for those around them, and that is a really wonderful gift, and what the season is all about.
Getting to be a kid again. People say the holidays are for children. Well, then count me in. It’s not about being childish (most of the time, anyway), but about watching all of them as they look at the lights, wonder what’s in the boxes, and giggle at the good times they are having. Bringing joy to a child is about as good as it gets.
Giving and receiving. The whole gift thing can go way over the top, but the idea is to find something that moves both the person who’s receiving your gift and you as the giver. Meaningful gifts are important. My other half asked me to write her a letter, a gift that will cost me nothing but time and one that will contain my whole heart. She will get some other things, but my holiday letter will be the highlight.
Can’t forget the food. Though I work hard to stay healthy, from Thanksgiving to New Year’s, there are things I eat that I wait for all year long. I have learned to savor the flavors and the dinners with loved ones. I so enjoy having a full table of smiling faces and great food. I also make it a point to share our gatherings with a few folks who have no place to go. It makes the food taste even better.
Being reminded of how lucky we are. As you shop for your family, you can’t help but hear the bell ringers and see the booths of the many organizations that help those less fortunate. This time of year, I give as much as I can to those people and organizations that help others. Taking the kids to a homeless shelter on Christmas night to serve dinner to those less fortunate is a great way to appreciate your own blessings, while also brightening the holiday season for others.
It’s too bad we only get into the holiday spirit once a year. If only it were powerful enough to keep us in a pleasant mood for the next eleven months! Carrying the spirit into the New Year would make us all a lot happier. Give it a try and Happy Holidays.
Dr. Barton Goldsmith, is a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, is the author of “The Happy Couple – How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Email him at Barton@BartonGoldsmith.com. Follow his daily insights at www.twitter.com/@BartonGoldsmith.